Graphic Design BA (Hons)

Folded pages featuring typography by Adi Floyde for BA (Hons) Graohic Design
UCAS Code
W210
Mode of Study
Full-time, Full-time sandwich with work placement
Duration
3 years full-time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
Start Date
September 2019

Overview

Bring your creative ideas to life using the latest software and professional tools on this BA (Hons) Graphic Design degree course.

You’ll examine the core principles of graphic design, learning how to apply your talent across every industry using traditional and digital media. You’ll also develop expert skills in design software including Adobe In Design and Illustrator to design and create incredible pieces.

A creative career awaits you when you graduate. A degree in graphic design will open doors to jobs in areas such as web and print design, interactive design, motion graphics and specialist typography.

What you'll experience

On this degree course you’ll:

  • Access specialist production facilities to develop techniques like screen printing, letterpress, laser cutting and dye sublimation printing
  • Achieve Adobe Certified Associate (ACA) qualifications as part of the course – one of our final-year students won the industry-acclaimed UK Adobe Championship in 2017
  • Get an industry perspective from guest speakers – past guests have included Alan Kitching and staff from design studios, FontSmith and SomeOne
  • Be taught by a mix of academic staff and working professionals
  • Have the opportunity to take part in events like SKY Creative Day and international competitions such as the YCN, RSA, D&AD and achieve membership of the International Society of Typographic Designers (iSTD)
  • Do either a traditional dissertation or produce a practical project in your final year

Work experience and career planning

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course.

We can help you identify placements, internships, voluntary roles and freelancing opportunities that will complement your studies and build your portfolio.

Placement year

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. Previous students have completed work placements at the head offices of organisations such as Debenhams and Sainsbury’s, and agencies such as Really B2B.

Fancy setting up your own graphic design company on your placement year? You can start up and run your own company for a year as an alternative to a work-based placement.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Careers and opportunities

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. You could work in many areas of media, including:

  • magazine design publishing
  • branding and design agencies
  • art direction and advertising
  • website design
  • work in the television and film industries
  • further study and research

Graduates from this course have gone on to work with these companies and design studios:

You could also set up your own business or work as a freelancer. Examples of businesses past students have set up include:

When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service can help you find a job that puts your skills to work in the industry. You can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years as you advance in your career.

Entry requirements​

Entry Requirements

  • 104-112 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent.
  • Applicants will be required to attend an interview.
  • Applicants without art and design qualifications or experience may be asked to submit a digital portfolio in advance of an invitation to interview.

    See the other qualifications we accept

​Course costs

Tuition fees (2019 start)

  • UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £13,900 per year (subject to annual increase)

Additional course costs

These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.

Additional costs

Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.

You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.

We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose.

You'll need to pay extra printing costs of around £100–£600 on portfolio work. Material and production costs are around £100–£500 a year.

You'll need to pay the full cost for optional study trips. Optional study trips abroad will cost around £200–£800. Optional study trips in the UK will cost around £50–£150.

​What you'll study

Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.

Units currently being studied

Core units in this year include:

  • Introduction to Graphic Design
  • Fundamentals of Design Practice
  • Information Design
  • Screen Design – Motion Graphics
  • Research-Informed Design Thinking
  • Introduction to Visual Culture

There are no optional units in this year.

Core units in this year include:

  • Developing Design Practice
  • Screen Design – Interactive
  • Ethical Design
  • Professional Practice – Identity and Branding

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Professional Practice – Live Design Briefs
  • Professional Experience
  • Student Enterprise
  • Visual Culture: Visions of the Body
  • Visual Culture: Cult Films and Postmodernism
  • Visual Culture: Design, Style and Identity
  • Visual Culture: Issues of Representation
  • Visual Culture: Technology and the Image

Core units in this year include:

  • Graphic Design Major Project – Research, Development and Resolution
  • Professional Practice – Design Briefs and Competitions
  • Professional Practice – Promotion and Employability
  • Professional Practice - Design Studio Practice

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Visual Culture: Dissertation
  • Visual Culture: Research Project
  • Visual Culture: Research Paper
  • Visual Culture: Research Extended Project

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.

Learning support

As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).

ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:

  • academic writing
  • note taking
  • time management
  • critical thinking
  • presentation skills
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

If you have a mental or physical disability, the Additional Support and Disability Centre (ASDAC) can give you help, support and advice so you can reach your potential.

Teaching​

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • group critique
  • seminars
  • individual tutorials

There’s an emphasis on practical sessions, a strong studio culture and developing a creative atmosphere that will inspire you.

How you'll spend your time

Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:

  • Autumn teaching block – September to December
  • Spring teaching block – January to Easter
  • Assessment period – Easter to June

Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.

There’s no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

You can also use many of the facilities and get support from Faculty staff in the evenings and weekends.

Your workload

The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 77% studying independently
  • Year 2 students: 23% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 77% studying independently
  • Year 3 students: 12% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, and 88% studying independently

How you're assessed​

Not a fan of exams? Don't worry – there aren't any on this course. Instead, you can let your designs do the talking.

You’ll be assessed through:

  • project presentations
  • research and developmental work
  • design portfolios
  • written essays or reports

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year 1 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 100% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 100% by coursework

Apply

How to apply

To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:

  • the UCAS course code – W210
  • our institution code – P80

You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.

Not quite ready to apply?

Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

How to apply from outside the UK

If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section. 

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

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